By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS —The threat by some Northern governors to undermine a possible bid by President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term, came under attack, yesterday, as some stakeholders from the North openly confronted them, describing the threat as a bluff.
It emerged, yesterday, that a sizeable proportion of Northern senators, and other political stakeholders, notably from the Middle Belt region, were not on the same page with some of the Northern governors in their alleged opposition to a possible bid by Jonathan for the presidency in 2015.
The National Youth Leader of the Middle Belt Forum, Jonathan Asake told Vanguard, yesterday, that the threat against the president by the Northern governors was a bluff. He chided them for allowing the activities of insurgents to portray Dr. Jonathan as an incompetent leader.
The United Middle Belt Congress speaking in the same vein also dissociated itself from the threat by the Northern governors and vowed that the people of the Middle Belt would not allow themselves to be railroaded by the Hausa Fulani in deciding on the 2015 Presidency.
Jonathan should increase his outreach
Their assertions nonetheless, the Mass Mobilization for Transformation (MMT), a group sympathetic to Jonathan, yesterday, called on the president to increase his outreach to both friends and foes across the country. The National Coordinator of the group, Comrade Joseph Ambakederimo told Vanguard that the president should show himself as a man for all, through friendly visits to the governors to win their support.
Calling the bluff of the Northern governors’ threat against Jonathan, a Northern senator who prefers to remain anonymous told Vanguard, yesterday, that those writing off the president for the 2015 contest are doing so at their own peril. While predicting that the president would win at least 10 of the 19 Northern states, he said that the power of incumbency and other rolling plans by the administration, notably ongoing electricity generation and distribution plans could act as a game changer.
“He will win a minimum of 10 states that I know. Election is not the way you people see it and I can tell you that within a month, the administration can do some things that can change the mind of the electorate. One month policy can change it all,” the second-term Northern senator told Vanguard.
“I believe that between now and the end of the year the dynamics will change; there are so many factors that will come into play,” he affirmed.
Asked if the group was on the same page with those Northern governors against a Jonathan bid for the 2015 presidency, the Northern leader said thus:
“How can we be on the same page with them? Because I know that they are doing it for selfish purposes. The reason they are agitating is not for my interest. Because it is all obvious that they have conspired to cause the insecurity just to reach the final conclusion. So, it is not done in good faith,” Asake, a former member of the House of Representatives told Vanguard yesterday.
He said: “If from day one, they had showed that Jonathan did not have the ability or was incapable of being president and had mobilized in that direction, then they would have had our support, but they have actually played the ostrich,” Asake said.
Governance is corporate
“They allowed the atrocities to go on and did nothing about it to give the impression that it is Jonathan that has failed the people, not knowing that governance is supposed to be corporate; everybody is supposed to be a part of it, not only one man is to be blamed. So, if Jonathan is disqualified, then all of them are disqualified too.”
President-General of the Middle Belt Youth Congress, UMBYC, Abuka Onalo Omo-Baba said the Middle Belt would sustain its independent political course towards 2015, independent of the core North.
He said: “We have insisted that we are Middle Belt Youth people and we will remain Middle Belt. Nobody is going to give us a name other than the name we have chosen for ourselves. We did not give Arewa, we did not give Odua, we did not give Ndigbo, our own name is Middle Belt and if our governors do not feel that after their tenure as governors in the Middle Belt that their own colleagues in Kano and Sokoto have more right to the presidency, then they are mistaken.
“It is a very, very serious mistake because when they say power shift to the North, none of the governors past or present from the Middle Belt can present themselves. They will either point to their colleagues in Sokoto, Kebbi or Bauchi. So, they have continued to enslave the Middle Belt people and that is why the United Middle Belt Congress, says no.
“It is in the interest of our governors that we are fighting; it is in the interest of the Middle Belt people that we are fighting. We are equal but being made to be subservient to the Hausa Fulani and we say no to that and that it is time for the Middle Belt to claim its identity.
“So the threat of the Northern governors is a bluff to us. We do not have any regard for the Northern governors, we don’t have any regard for them,” he said.
Ambakederimo, leader of the pro-Jonathan MMT was, however, conciliatory. He said the president should go out and build bridges with all major stakeholders.
“The president ought to at this time be going out to make friends and build bridges. I do not know why, up till now, he is yet to make a state visit to Port-Harcourt, because he must see Amaechi as a friend and win him over. He must go out to make friends,” Ambakederimo said.